Thursday, March 02, 2006

A New Deal in South Asia

Prime Minister Singh and President BushRegular readers of Gates of Vienna know me to be somewhat of an Indophile. Or should I be modern and multicultural, and say “Bharatophile”?

In any case, my heart was gladdened by the photos of President Bush and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh standing together at the press conference. And the deal they signed is not inconsequential – I’ll let tell the story:

India Inc on Thursday welcomed US President George W Bush’s visit to this country, saying it will boost economic ties between the two giant democracies, and hailed the civilian nuclear deal for providing critical energy inputs to the Indian industry.

The energy-starved industry will get a booster as a consequence of the India-US nuclear deal thus reducing the country’s dependence on fossil fuels and lowering the mounting oil import bill.

FICCI president Saroj Kumar Poddar described the agreement as a ‘watershed’ and ‘landmark’ deal and one which will serve the economic interest of the two giant nations.

Describing Prime Minister Singh and President Bush as statesmen and leaders of vision and foresight, Poddar said the agreement reflects the transformation and upgradation of the Indo-US business relation, the process of which started with the visit of the Indian prime minister to Washington in July 2005.

Being described as a “statesman and leader of vision” must make Mr. Bush reluctant to go home and resume the usual status of moron, fascist, and/or theocrat.

We may be facing a nasty and unpredictable conflagration in the not-so-distant future, what with Iran playing with nukes and President Musharraf trying to hang ten on a hot lava wave of Islamic fundamentalism in Pakistan. India is our natural ally on these and other fundamental issues; after all, their interest in them is even stronger than ours.

India is a thriving, dynamic, free-market, and democratic country with a large and well-educated English-speaking middle class. It is the driving engine of the South Asian economy, and well-positioned to be a counterweight to other regional powers whose interests do not coincide with ours.

In addition, it faces a version of the Great Islamic Jihad which is more vicious and widespread than anything outside of the Sunni Triangle. India is an outpost of civilization in a dangerous region, and deserves American support.

And, in case you need them, here are two more reasons to like today’s deal.

Number one, Reuters calls it “controversial”.

Number two, China doesn't like it:

China has said nuclear co-operation between the United States and India must conform with the rules of the global non-proliferation regime.

‘Co-operation must conform with the requirements and provisions of the international non-proliferation regime and the obligations undertaken by all countries,’ foreign ministry spokesman Qin Gang told Agence France-Presse.

Suggested headine for the above story: Butter Fails to Melt in China’s Mouth.


El Jefe Maximo said...

I'm also somewhat of an this world it's hard not to be a "phile" of a more-or-less friendly democratic country that has 30 divisions.

Papa Ray said...

The real news is the military side of the "new relationship". While we have sold them some recon aircraft we might be able to make large fighter sales to them as well. Joint exercises between the two countries have been sucessful and will continue moreso now. A possible US airbase and storage facility is also wished for.

While we have to enlist the Paks, even if they do hate us and want to destroy us, our relationship with India will be more than just enlisting their aid against the WOT, but economic and cultural.

But, there are still large groups of Indians that hate the West and will do their damnest to hurt us in any way they can.

Papa Ray
West Texas

El Jefe Maximo said...

Papa Ray is right about the risks inherent in this relationship...but such a splendid, splendid army.

Given the choice between India and Pakistan, I'd go for India every day Our interests run together, particularly given the Chinese angle, as you recognise, Baron. Terror of India may be the only thing that keeps Pakistan even a little bit in our corner, given the predilection of Inter-Services Intelligence and post-Zia Pakistan for Islamicist solutions.

India has its own priorities, but there are certain things the USA and India can cooperate on. On that level, it has been a good day.

Thanks for the steer.

Wally Ballou said...

Hooray for the Anglosphere. The relationship with India was supposed to be on Bush's front burner early in the first term, but 9/11 changed all that. In the long run it may be our most important friendly relationship. It's vital and long overdue to get it on track. The press has been focusing on how the Indian left (which includes some real winners - remember they were hardline socialists for many years) doesn't like Bush. boo hoo. It's a big country, and democratic.

The Indian press contrasted Bush's trip and discussion with Clinton's "whistle-stop" when he stayed a couple of hours and never shut up to listen once.

Englisc wielt!

(attempt at OE)

Wally Ballou said...

For really good background on the Bush administration's view of the relationship, read this article by our former ambassador to India.

CP said...

I think I'm becoming an Indophile. Charlie Rose interviewed PM Singh this week and it was one of the best interviews I've ever seen. At this point, I am very encouraged about the new relationship between India and the US.

Krishna109 said...

I agree-- an alliance between India and the U.S. is natural-- both countries are committed to democracy; both are wary of Chinese ambitions; and both are targets of Islamofacist terrorism. As with just about everything, the coverage in the mainstream media is often inadequate and misleading(for example, while the MSM frequently criticizes Israel's building a security barrier, I've seen very little mention of the fact that that India is also building one-- and for the same reason: to keep out Islamic Terrorists.

Anon said...

Please stop using the term "indophile" unless you mean to indicate a condescending a colonial view of Indian culture. We as Indians are not interested on your approval, and your passing interest in our culture does not qualify you as educate or eccentric. I might as well say I'm an Italophile because I like pasta and Michelangelo. You all disgust me.